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Björk’s Biophilia educational curriculum to be adopted by European schools

on June 13, 2014, 2:50pm

In 2011, Björk released Biophilia, the world’s first “app album,” which she developed alongside scientists and engineers to explore the intersect between music, the environment, and technology. Since then, the singer’s unveiled a number of adaptations, including a supporting three-year tour and the concert film Björk: Biophilia Live.

One of the more novel incarnations, though, is an accompanying educational curriculum. Entitled the Biophilia Educational Program, it’s described as a “multimedia exploration of the universe.” After being used “informally” at schools in Paris, Los Angeles, and Buenos Aires, The Guardian reports that Björk’s curriculum is being officially adopted in several European schools. So, do we call her Ms. or Mrs. Björk, or maybe just Ms. B?

The Biophilia Educational Program was developed in late 2011 in collaboration with researchers from the University of Iceland and music and science teachers from Reykjavik City Schools. In an interview with the Observer to be published next week, Björk said the system has been “really popular with kids who have ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder) or dyslexia,” adding that students seem to enjoy the lessons because it breaks away from the “classroom-bound, traditional nature” of most Icelandic schools.

According to press for the program, it is designed to “inspire children to explore their own creativity, and to learn about music and science through new technologies. It is a hands-on program, groundbreaking in its highly original effort to break up conventional teaching modes by merging music and science together. ‘Creativity as a Learning Tool’ has been the slogan of this interdisciplinary program, which was based upon Björk’s Biophilia concept. It uses the Biophilia App Suite to help link together diverse subjects with playful creativity and the interactive nature of the touch screen.”

Targeted for students ages 8 to 15, the curriculum’s received rave reviews from both students and teachers. One teacher in Buenos Aires wrote that it’s “not allowing any preconceptions to teaching. We ourselves were discovering different things and new ways in a teaching manner we had never done before. Biophilia therefore also generated a great change in us as teachers.” Meanwhile, a student said, “What I liked is that it pushed you to be creative and took away limitations.”

Björk used an early version of the curriculum during a series of workshops held as part of her 2012 residency at the New York Hall of Science. Then, just last year, she launched a Kickstarter to establish a global program, which looked to create a syllabus and set curriculum to facilitate interest in the study of science and nature. Set to be launched as Android/Windows version apps, Björk pulled the plug after reaching just $26,000 of the $630,000 goal. In a statement, she wrote, “The costs were too gigantic and we too optimistic, so it seemed cleverest to pause it for now.”

Below, watch a demonstration video of the curriculum from a classroom in Reykjavik.

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